Trump signs executive orders aimed at lowering drug prices

President Trump signed four executive orders aimed at lowering drug prices Friday. The orders are variations of drug pricing proposals the administration rolled out last year, but are largely symbolic because they are unlikely to take effect anytime soon, if they do so at all, as the power to implement drug pricing policy through executive order...

President Trump signed four executive orders aimed at lowering drug prices Friday. The orders are variations of drug pricing proposals the administration rolled out last year, but are largely symbolic because they are unlikely to take effect anytime soon, if they do so at all, as the power to implement drug pricing policy through executive order is limited. "If they're simply ordering HHS to continue with its rulemaking process, the executive order isn’t really accomplishing anything," said Rachel Sachs, an associate professor of law at Washington University in St. Louis. "If it's ordering the finalization of these rules sooner than expected, then that might progress more quickly." Drug company executives expressed frustration the administration is pushing the orders even as it presses the industry to develop and manufacture vaccines and treatments for COVID-19. "The research-based biopharmaceutical industry has been working around the clock to develop therapeutics and vaccines to treat and prevent covid-19," said Steve Ubl, president and chief executive of PhRMA. "The administration’s proposal today is a reckless distraction that impedes our ability to respond to the current pandemic—and those we could face in the future."